The respiratory-sleep disorders (RSD) and, especially, those related to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in children, may be associated to cognitive, metabolic, cardiovascular and growth disturbances. Sleep fragmentation as well as intermittent hypoxia are involved in their pathophysiology. The possible growth retardation has been attributed to excessive energy consumption at night by the respiratory muscles and to an alteration in the release of growth hormone due to interference in the sleep architecture. Owing that childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the Occidental world, and because of its relationship with RSD in this age group, attempts to demonstrate a possible relationship between childhood RSD with increased metabolic syndrome and its long-term consequences has been triggered. The repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction that occur in OSAS, result in hypoxia, hypercapnia, and altered balance of intrathoracic pressures in an intermittent manner. These abnormalities can affect the performance of the systemic and pulmonary arterial vascularization. Finally, in children with RSD, behavioral changes such as irritability, aggressiveness, and impairment in neurological cognitive development are relatively common.
(Rev Esp Ortod. 2012;42(3):148-152)